A while back I read a story about Chippie the Parakeet from Max Lucado’s book, “In the Eye of the Storm.” He wrote about how Chippie never saw it coming. One second he was peacefully perched in his cage. The next he was sucked in, washed up, blown over.
The problems began when Chippie’s owner decided to clean Chippie’s cage with a vacuum cleaner. She removed the attachment from the end of the hose and stuck it in the cage. The phone rang, and she turned to pick it up. She’d barely said ‘hello’ when ‘sssopp!’ Chippie got sucked in.
The bird owner gasped, put down the phone, turned off the vacuum, and opened the bag. There was Chippie—still alive, but stunned.
Since the bird was covered with dust and soot, she grabbed him and raced to the bathroom, turned on the faucet, and held Chippie under the running water. Then, realizing that Chippie was soaked and shivering, she did what any compassionate bird owner would do . . . She reached for the hair dryer and blasted the pet with hot air.
Poor Chippie never knew what hit him.
A few days after the trauma, the reporter who’d initially written about the event contacted Chippie’s owner to see how the bird was recovering. “Well,” she replied, “Chippie doesn’t sing much anymore—he just sits and stares.”
It’s not hard to see why. Sucked in, washed up, and blown over . . . That’s enough to steal the song from the stoutest heart.
I suspect that all of us here have felt like Chippie at one time or another. Our dreams have been dashed, our spirits have been shattered, and our world has been turned upside down. And just like Chippie, we never saw it coming. One minute we were just singing away, and the next, we had been blown over by one of life’s many storms. In spite of all our virtuous clichés, the plain truth is this: life can be very, very difficult at times. And sometimes it can be more than we can bear alone.
As we begin our spiritual walk, David tells us that God takes us out of a horrible pit and places our feet on a rock (Jesus is that rock Matthew 16:18), and He puts a song in our mouth (Psalms 40:1-3).
I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.
He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings,
And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.
It’s the same body but a different me. The same mind but a different attitude. The same legs but a different walk. The same mouth but a different talk, and a different song. Now I have been given a new song. It is a song of praise and thanksgiving. It is a song that proclaims His grace and His mercy on me to others. The world didn’t give it, and the world can’t take it away.
The devil can’t stand this song, and he will do everything he can to shut you up. He hates your song because it is a testimony of what God has done for you, and because of the power of the song. Did you notice the scripture said that others would hear your song and come to know Him? You need to set your feet on the rock, look the devil in the eye, and say, “Devil…You can’t have my song.”
Now you may ask, “but what do we do when we don’t feel like singing?” The devil wants to stop our song. Not only because of its effect on others, but also because it is our strength. If the enemy can steal your song, he can take your joy. When your joy is gone, so is your strength (Nehemiah 8:10). This is the reason the devil wants to take your joy.
So back to the question of what do we do when we don’t feel like singing. That same question was asked in the Psalms when the children of Israel were slaves in a foreign land (Psalms 137:3-4). The enemy was mocking the Jews, “Now sing one of your songs.” Maybe someone reading this is in that same situation. Maybe you just received a bad diagnosis and worse prognosis; maybe a spouse left a note that they are not coming back; or the teenage child is in rebellion; or you received a pink slip at work…and the devil is daring you to sing your song. What do you do when you don’t feel like singing?
The answer is found in the next chapter (Psalms 138:1-2). They may have been in a foreign land, but they chose to sing their song. In the presence of their enemies, they would sing their song of praise. When they were not in the place they wanted to be, they would sing their praise. When the situation was not what they wanted, they would sing their praise.
Isn’t this what we find people of faith doing throughout the scriptures? Look at Job. After he lost his health, wealth, and family, you know the enemy was on his shoulders saying, “Now sing your song.” So he did. It went something like this, “Though after the skin worms destroy this body yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another…” (Job 19:26).
The same is true in the New Testament with Paul and Silas. They are in prison, beaten, and their hands and legs were in stocks. It would have been very easy to sing, “gloom, despair, and agony on me.” Instead, they were singing praises to God (Acts 16:25). We need to have the attitude of Paul and Silas. They were in severe pain and, no doubt, some inner turmoil. But they refused to let the devil have their song. Their attitude was, “You may take my freedom, you may take my health, you may take my wealth, BUT DEVIL…YOU CAN’T HAVE MY SONG.”
There are times you may have to sing when you don’t feel like singing. You may not understand the whys, but sing anyway. The sky may be dark, but sing anyway. Keep on singing, keep on praising, keep on worshipping. If you do, there will be a day of restoration like Job; there will be a fourth man in the fire as there was with the three Hebrew boys; there will be a ram in the thicket as there was with Issac. While you are singing, don’t be surprised when the earth starts shaking, and the prison doors of your issues begin to open on your behalf.
Of course, the greatest example of this is Christ. When he knew the time had come for the cross, He sang a song (Matthew 26:30). It was in the shadow of the cross that He sings, “Not my will but thine be done.” It is through the pain of a sword piercing His side He sang, “Forgive them Father, they know not what they do.”
Even in death He still had one more song to sing. It was one that my father-in-law loved to sing. That song was, “Ain’t no grave gonna hold my body down.” Jesus has given you a song; don’t stop singing.
Finally, I want to encourage you to do what Paul encouraged the church at Ephesus to do, “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord,” (Eph. 5:18,19).
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